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Will harsher underage drinking penalties reduce drunk driving accidents?

Drunk driving is a recognized problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. A drunk driving car crash can have devastating effects on the drunk drivers themselves, but also have an even greater impact on the victims of these types of accidents. Victims who are hit by drunk drivers often suffer serious bodily injury, and in some cases, even die.

States have different ways of combating drunk driving. In some states, heavy fines and license suspensions are utilized to thwart drunk driving. Although fines and suspensions are often appropriate, some states feel that more needs to be done to discourage drunk driving.

Often times, minors are involved in drunk driving accidents. One way to cut down on drunk driving accidents by minors is to crack down on underage drinking. Pennsylvania has enhanced the fines associated with underage drinking. This new measure will hopefully have a direct impact on drunk driving accidents caused by minors.

Under the new law, people under the age of 18 cited for drinking will be fined $500, up from $300. They could face a $1,000 fine for a second offense. The idea behind the new Pennsylvania legislation is to lessen the number of alcohol-related crimes that occur.

Each state attacks the problem of drunk driving as they see fit. Only time will tell if Pennsylvania's approach is effective. In the meantime, victims of drunk driving accidents, whether the driver was a minor or not, would be wise to contact a legal professional to discuss their rights and options in seeking recovery for their losses.

Source: The Patriot-News, "Newly enacted Pennsylvania underage drinking law imposes tougher sanctions on offenders," Ivey De Jesus, Dec. 28, 2012

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